1. To describe the major aspects of financial merchandise planning and management 

The purpose of financial merchandise management is to stipulate which products are bought by the retailer, when, and in what quantity. Dollar control monitors inventory investment, while unit control relates to the amount of merchandise handled. Financial merchandise management encompasses accounting methods, merchandise forecasts and budgets, unit control, and integrated dollar and unit controls.

2. To explain the cost and retail methods of accounting  

Two accounting techniques for retailers are the cost and retail methods of inventory valuation. Physical and book (perpetual) procedures are possible with each. Physical inventory valuation requires counting merchandise at prescribed times. Book inventory valuation relies on accurate bookkeeping and a smooth flow of data.
The cost method obligates a retailer to have careful records for each item bought or code costs on packages. This must be done to find the exact value of ending inventory at cost. Many firms use LIFO accounting to project that value, which lets them reduce taxes by having a low ending inventory value. In the retail method, closing inventory value is tied to the average relationship between the cost and retail value of merchandise. This more accurately reflects market conditions, but is more complex.

3. To study the merchandise forecasting and budgeting process  

This is a form of dollar control with six stages: designating control units, sales forecasting, inventory-level planning, reduction planning, planning purchases, and planning profit margins. Adjustments require all later stages to be modified.
Control units — merchandise categories for which data are gathered — must be narrow enough to isolate problems and opportunities with specific product lines. Sales forecasting may be the key stage in the merchandising and budgeting process. Through inventory-level planning, a firm sets merchandise quantities for specified periods through the basic stock, percentage variation, weeks’ supply, and stock-to-sales methods. Reduction planning estimates expected markdowns, discounts, and stock shortages. Planned purchases are linked to planned sales, reductions, ending inventory, and beginning inventory. Profit margins are related to a retailer’s planned net sales, operating expenses, profit, and reductions.

4. To examine alternative methods of inventory unit control  

A unit control system involves physical units of merchandise. It monitors best-sellers and poor sellers, the quantity of goods on hand, inventory age, reorder time, and so on. A physical inventory unit control system may use visual inspection or a stock counting procedure. A perpetual inventory unit control system keeps a running total of the units handled through recordkeeping entries that adjust for sales, returns, transfers, and so on. A perpetual system can be applied manually, by merchandise tags processed by computers, or by point-of-sale devices. Virtually all larger retailers conduct regular physical inventories, two-thirds use a perpetual inventory system.

5. To integrate dollar and unit merchandising control concepts  

Three aspects of financial inventory control integrate dollar and unit control concepts: stock turnover and gross margin return on investment, when to reorder, and how much to reorder. Stock turnover is the number of times during a period that the average inventory on hand is sold. Gross margin return on investment shows the relationship between the gross margin in dollars (total dollar operating profits) and average inventory investment (at cost). A reorder point calculation – when to reorder – includes the retailer’s usage rate, order lead time, and safety stock. The economic order quantity – how much to reorder – aids a retailer in choosing how big an order to place, based on both ordering and inventory costs.